HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. -- There were about 125 guests at Project SHARE’s first Thanksgiving dinner for the homeless 25 years ago.
On Tuesday, Nov. 25, there will be an estimated 700 guests at Hastings High School for the event’s silver anniversary.
“I just want to reach as many people as we can and give them these holiday memories,” said Jeanne Newman, who founded the social justice and volunteer group Project SHARE at Hastings High School 27 years ago.
Each year the family-style event, where guests are served a full home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner, takes place thanks to donations and hundreds of volunteers.
This year about 250 volunteers from Hastings High, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Somers High School, Dobbs Ferry High School, the American Muslim Women’s Association and Another Step Inc. will help make the dinner possible. Even Hastings Mayor Peter Swiderski will be on staff that day.
“This is such a kid-driven event, but we do need adults to help us with certain things,” said Newman.
Project SHARE needs volunteers to help carve apples, make pies and help out in the kitchen between Saturday, Nov. 22, and Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Those who would like to volunteer can contact firstname.lastname@example.org. So far, Project SHARE has reached $9,472 of its $15,000 goal.
Check out the GoFundMe page here to make a donation.
Newman hopes the event will inspire participants to reach out to those in need all year-round and says that the event is memorable for both volunteers and guests.
“I just got a phone call from someone who volunteered 15 year ago and said that she will never forget the feeling she got from volunteering all those years ago,” said Newman.
“We’ve heard it’s the largest sit-down dinner for the homeless population of its kind in the state. How wonderful is that? Nobody anticipated this kind of turn out. We really didn’t.”
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